The Dell XPS 15 (9500) is back with a redesign that highlights a beautiful 16:10 screen and has excellent sound quality. Its webcam, though in the right place, still needs work.
- Gorgeous with slim bezels
- Great sound quality
- Bright, vivid, 16:10 display
- Strong performance
- Lackluster webcam
- Middling SSD speeds
When Dell reimagined the XPS 13 earlier this year, we got a vision of an ultraportable with an almost bezel-free screen, focusing on performance and the work you do. Now, the Dell XPS 15 ($1,299 to start, $2,349 as tested) is getting its turn, with a similar 16:10 screen and performance powered by Intel’s latest 10th Gen H-series processors and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti. But with a 15-inch size come some changes, including a modern selection of ports, that, thanks heavens, includes a full-sized SD card reader for professionals.
This is the first time in years that the Dell XPS 15 has received a redesign, and yet it still looks and feels , to a degree, like it always has. It has a silver, aluminum lid with the Dell logo stamped in the middle. It isn’t until you open the laptop that you notice the bigger differences from prior models.
To start, the 15.6-inch display on the Dell XPS 15 now has InfinityEdge bezels on all four sides, like what we saw on the Dell XPS 13. It’s striking, almost as if the screen were floating in thin air. Dell claims it’s a 92.9% screen-to-body-ratio. This is the design to beat in terms of immersion in work and play.
The Dell XPS 15 (9500)’s deck is black carbon fiber, the XPS design I tend to prefer. With top firing speakers flanking the keyboard. The touchpad is incredibly spacious, easily rivaling the MacBook Pro. The fingerprint reader is on the power button on the top right-hand corner of the keyboard.
One other change is the hinge, which feels far more substantial than ever before. You can open it with one hand, though it requires a bit of muscle. This is built solid.
The other big area of note is the port selection. On the left side there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a lock slot, while the right side plays home to a USB Type-C 3.1 port, a full-sized SD card reader and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. It’s not a ton for a professionally oriented machine, though it does offer slightly more variety than the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s four Thunderbolt 3 ports. If you need USB Type-A or HDMI, Dell includes a dongle in the box.
At 13.6 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches and 4.5 pounds with an 86 WHr battery, the redesigned Dell XPS 15 is sleek for a laptop of this size. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is lighter at 4.3 pounds with a similarly sized chassis at 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches. The 15-inch HP Spectre x360 has the same weight, but is larger at 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches, though it is a convertible 2-in-1. If you want something smaller, the MSI Prestige 14 is 2.8 pounds and 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches, though that has a smaller, 14-inch screen.
Dell XPS 15 (9500) Specifications
|CPU||Intel Core i7-10750H|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti|
|SSD||512GB NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6-inch, 3840 x 2400, 16:10 aspect ratio|
|Networking||Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||2x Thunderbolt 3, lock slot, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack, SD card reader|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro|
|Size||13.6 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches|
|Extra||USB Type-C to USB Type-A and HDMI dongle|
|Price (as Configured)||$2,349.99|
Productivity Performance on Dell XPS 15 (9500)
Our review unit came armed with an Intel Core i7-10750H, one of the chipmaker’s newest 10th Gen core processors. It also had 32GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM and a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. That is to say, this is not an entry-level unit, and it put up some impressive numbers.
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
On the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, it notched a score of 25,934. That beat both the HP Spectre x360 (Intel Core i7-8565U) and MSI Prestige 14 (Intel Core i7-10710U), neither of which use the enthusiast-grade H-series processors. The MacBook Pro and its top-of-the-line Intel Core i9-9980HK had the highest score of 31,178.
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
It took 7 seconds for the XPS 15 to complete our file transfer test, which copies 4.97GB of files. That equates to 727 MBps. That’s faster than the Spectre (424MBps) but slower than both the MacBook Pro and the Prestige 14, both tied at 1,017.9 MBps.
On the Handbrake video editing test, the XPS 15 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 10 minutes and 6 seconds. That’s again faster than both the Spectre (21:13) and Prestige (14:01), but slower than the MacBook Pro (8 minutes flat).
Graphics on Dell XPS 15 (9500)
The Dell XPS 15 (9500) isn’t a gaming laptop, but it does have discrete graphics. Our review unit came equipped with a GTX 1650 Ti.
On Dirt 3, the Dell XPS 15 (9500) ran the benchmark at 135 fps at 1080p, falling behind the MSI Prestige 14 (interesting, considering that laptop uses a GTX 1650 Max-Q) and 70 fps in 4K.
At 1080p, the XPS 15 (9500) ran Grand Theft Auto V (very high) at 42 fps, Shadow of the Tomb Raider (highest) at 29 fps and Far Cry New Dawn (ultra) at 48 fps. With the exception of GTA V, the games were unplayable at 4K, which isn’t exactly surprising. If you turn the settings down from our benchmarks, you could play most games on this machine when you’re not using it for work.